Sunday, January 28, 2007

Timber Bamboo

Sunlight glints on the culms of timber bamboo.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Fan Frond

A view up through the fronds of a Mexican fan palm.

Friday, January 26, 2007

First Rain in Weeks

Today, we got our first rain in several weeks here in the Bay Area. Rainfall at this time last year was almost 4 times the amount of what it has been this winter. I hope rain comes soon, or else the garden may be history...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bad News for Insects...

This alien-looking structure is actually the digestive organ of a carnivorous plant. How nice.

Monday, January 22, 2007


A gnarled and twisted California buckeye. Notice the see-through trunk.


An exotic leaf in the Berkeley Tropical House.

Fog City?

San Francisco and the Bay Bridge on a particularly sunny January day.

Illuminated Camellia

A camellia flower at the UC Berkeley Garden.

Tropical Flavor

The bright colors of this Heliconia can surely cure the winter blues.

Garden Waterfall

A small waterfall at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

More Plumerias...

Will my obsession with them ever stop?

Bismarck Palms

No, these aren't from North Dakota.

Banana Bonanza

The "banana boulevard" section of the Quail Botanical Gardens.

San Diego Jungle

The lush understory of Palm Canyon, complete with elephant ears and banana plants.

Washingtonia Duo

A pair of very tall Mexican fan palms.

Spider Web Plumeria

Some strands of spider silk cross a petal of a plumeria.

Palm Canyon Trail

The Palm Canyon section of Balboa Park. In this picture, I am standing in a grove of king palms (Archnotophoenix cunninghamiana).

Moreton Bay Fig

The gigantic roots of two very old Moreton Bay fig trees.

Bamboo Forest

The bamboo groves of the Quail Botanical Gardens in Encinitas, California.

Crazy Hibiscus

An awesome hibiscus from San Diego; look at those curled petals!

Nikau Palms

Nikau Palms native to New Zealand but growing in Balboa Park.

Balboa Park Plumerias

A huge cluster of plumeria flowers in Balboa Park, San Diego.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sunflower Silhouette

A tall 'Mammoth Russian' sunflower from the past summer.

Spiral Aloe

A very cool spiral aloe at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden.

A Stark Contrast

A healthy king palm frond set against the background of a defoliated sycamore. I must say that palms are my favorite trees for winter!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Subarctic to Subtropical...

After a week of record-low temperatures here in California, we will begin to climb out of a cold pit into a peak of "subtropical" warmth. Temperatures are expected to rise about 14 degrees by next Tuesday, with low temps in the 40's! I wonder how my garden likes it: dead for a week, and then slowly eased out of the coffin. I can no longer tell whether we are experiencing global warming or global cooling.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Frozen Moss

A patch of moss covered in water from a leaky faucet frozen by the night's cold temperatures.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Boulevard Palms

Mexican fan palms, Washingtonia robusta, line a street in Santa Barbara.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Last Summer's Plumeria

One of my plumerias from early September, 2006.

Sago Rain

Water droplets covering a sago palm frond in my tropical garden.

Saguaro in the Sonoran

A huge saguaro cactus in the Sonoran desert of Arizona.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Tropical Garden in 2007...

This year will hopefully bring some new additions to the garden. I am especially anxious to get my tropical garden started again, but the impending frost makes me question whether I will ever be able to grow tropical plants again.

Really though, the plants will make it, and I am hoping to add some great things this year, maybe some bougainvillea and hibiscus, and possibly one of those really cheap queen palms that grow so fast you might think they're taking steroids. And the Thailand Giant Strain of Colocasia elephant ears with leaves 5 feet wide might add an interesting look to the micro-jungle.

Throw in some squirrel monkeys and tiki torches, and it would be an "authentic" island a backyard.

Oh, one more thing: This is the 100th post on this blog!

Major Freeze Heading for California...

Temperatures are expected to drop by at least ten degrees over the next few days. Lows in the mid-20's are forecast for parts of the Central Valley and San Francisco Bay Area. Even San Diego and Los Angeles may experience freezing temperatures.

One More Hibiscus

A water-covered tropical hibiscus in Arizona.


A look back on a summer reveals the scenic beauty that can be found just outside San Francisco.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Five Weeks Later

The amaryllis has finally bloomed the first weekend of January 2007.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

In the Jungle

A subtropical jungle garden paradise in Oakland, CA.

Fishtail Palm Frond

Looking up from beneath a fishtail palm in Oakland, CA.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Bay Area Tropical

A stunning Heliconia schiedeana flower. This species is one of the cold-hardiest heliconias available.

Chasmanthe in the Garden

Some beautiful Chasmanthe plants at a local garden of palms and other tropicals.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Taste of Spring

Today the temperature got into the mid-60's and it was sunny all day. My tropical plants are on the side of the house in a super warm microclimate and hopefully they will start to recover from the frost. 2007 looks like it might be a good year for gardening.

Happy New Year

May you have a good 2007 filled with exciting discoveries.